Facebook Forgets The "Social" in Social Media

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I am a huge fan of Mark Zuckerberg's work. Facebook has changed the world, and I believe that he is trying to do good in this world. However, every so often the site makes a decision that boggles my mind to the point where I am left to wonder if the boy wonder even pays attention anymore.

Case in point: yesterday's announcement that Facebook will be clamping down on page posts that shamelessly beg for engagement.

An excerpt from the Tech Crunch article:

The social network giant said today that it will penalize Page owners and people who resort to “engagement bait,” which means posts that encourage users to like, comment or tag people in the comments section in order to gain wider visibility of their content.
The incentives — such as “Share with friends to win a free trip” or “Like if you’re an Aries” — gets content shared through engagement, ultimately helping the post, and the Page owner/author, grow its reach as users interact and it shows up on their friends’ Newsfeeds.

This decision is right up there with 20% text on graphics. It's simply ridiculous that the higher up's at the Palo Alto campus think all businesses fit into their regimented idea of what a business should and should not do.

Facebook, the Dictator

The 20% rule has ultimately led us at Sync to forget Facebook on several occasions and give ad dollars to other platforms. To tell us that one more line of text is inexcusable is to tell us that they don't care about the ad dollars. All told, in 2016, it's probably cost them about $100,000 in revenue, and this year that number is likely double (if not more).

That's not to say I don't understand why they made the rule in the first place; there are some awful graphics out there with far too much text. But, Facebook could simply drop the offenders in the feed because ugly graphics get little interaction, and that is a great benchmark to set as a point where businesses would lose engagement. However, sometimes businesses with ugly graphics get fantastic engagement, so why not let the people have their craptastic poster images?

Shamelessly out of Touch?

The same could be said for this new rule. Facebook hates when we hold tag or share contests. Okay, why? Because it's shameless? If those who make Facebook social are engaging then it only makes sense to let them engage.

Facebook says they're rolling out this feature now, but we've seen the hit a page can take already. What cost $5 with a tag contest in 2016 became a cost of $1500 for the same contest in 2017. This wasn't due to lack of interest; just lack of visibility on Facebook. People love the event and looked forward to it, but because we said, "Tag the friends you're coming with," the post was nearly impossible to get in front of the people whom are interested.

Bottom line, Facebook thinks that it is shameless to solicit a response and get ROI out of an ad. They're just plain wrong about that. Without the ability to create virility, marketers are going to stop spending. Perhaps what they should be measuring is the level of interaction a page has, and then penalizing based on actual faux pas like bashing competitors, soliciting lies, or ignoring their customer base.

What do you think?

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